Book Awards

NorthWords Writers’ Festival Society offers two annual book awards that recognize the best the NWT has to offer. Established in 2010 the NorthWords Book Award recognizes an outstanding book, set in the North and published by an NWT author in the previous year. In 2017, with funding from NT Power Corporation, the NorthWords Youth Book Award was created to recognize outstanding youth literature. Winners are selected by an independent jury and are awarded a $1,000 prize. If a book has more than one author, the prize money will be divided between the authors.

Eligibility: A novel, children’s book, collection of short stories, poetry or essays, creative non-fiction or memoir that has northern themes and settings. The author must have a strong connection to the Northwest Territories by meeting one of the following criteria:

  1. Was raised and/or schooled in the NWT and maintains strong ties to the NWT
  2. Lived in the NWT for a period of at least five years
  3. Currently lives in the NWT and has for a minimum of 1 year prior to the year in which the book was released.

Submission dates  for books published in 2021 will be posted in April 2022.

If you require additional information, feel free to contact us at: info@northwordsnwt.ca


2021 Winners

Congratulations to Northern author Katłıà (Catherine) Lafferty, winner of our 2021 Northwords Book Award for her novel, Land-Water-Sky/Ndè-Tı-Yat’a.

With her ancestors fueling the fire of this story, Lafferty’s novel tells the story of six different characters whose paths cross at various intersections of this story. Using the North Arm of Great Slave Lake, her grandmother’s birthplace as inspiration, Katłıà, wrote for two months taking readers on adventures with dene legends and vexatious shapeshifters in human disguise, honoring the art of dene storytelling. 

This is Lafferty’s second novel, her first, Northern Wildflower, is a memoir written under the name Catherine Lafferty.  

Congratulations to Northern authors Isis Essery and Rhiannon White, winners of our 2021 Northwords Youth Book Award, for their book, I Love You More Than the North is Vast.

Readers of this book will enjoy a playful journey through the North. They will venture through woodlands, up hills and around rivers. Readers will discover local flora and fauna and meet cuddly characters. 

2021 Finalists

Previous Recipients

  • From Bear Rock Mountain: The Life and Times of a Dene Residential School Survivor by Antoine Mountain (2020 Adult)
  • Sharing Our Truths/Tapwe by Henry Beaver and Mindy Willett, with Eileen Beaver (2020 Youth)
  • True North Rising by Whit Fraser (2019 Adult)
  • A Journey Down the River by Rachel VanderVeen (2019 Youth)
  • Reawakening our Ancestors Line by Angela Hovak Johnson (2018 Adult)
  • When We Play Our Drums, They Sing by Richard Van Camp (2018 Youth)
  • How the Raven Returned the Sun by Crystal Doherty and Carla Taylor (2017)
  • Ramshackle by Alison McCreesh (2016)
  • Kinds of Winter by Dave Olesen (2015)
  • One of the most busiest ports in the North by Sandra Dolan (2014)
  • Nighthawk! by Jamie Bastedo (2013)
  • Body Trade by Margaret Macpherson (2012)
  • The Caribou Feed Our Soul by Pete Enzoe and Mindy Willett (2011)
  • Myth of the Barrens by Bren Kolson (2010)